Philosophy of Pilates
Joseph Pilates described physical fitness as “the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” He was passionate about helping others get to this state, and wrote a manifesto called “Return to Life” where he described the problems he saw in our current environment, and prescribed a solution – his fitness regime.
Joseph Pilates was constantly critiquing modern society, arguing that it is wrecking our health. Our bodies evolved to move, stand, walk, run, lift, and twist. But after the industrial revolution a new sort of world emerged – one filled with machines, telephones, and a new prescription of movement (or lack thereof). This new world allowed our economy to reach greater heights and modern conveniences to thrive, but it came with a price.
How often do you look back on your day and realize the majority of it was spent sitting in a car, or in front of a screen? Lack of regular movement can damage our physical health by letting our muscles, joints, and ligaments atrophy, causing us to lose the strength necessary to hold up our natural structure. A new era of ailments has arisen, not of viruses or disease but of aches, pains, and the overall absence of well-being.
Pilates prescribed physical fitness as the antidote to our debilitating modern lifestyle. He noted that you cannot simply buy physical fitness or will yourself to be fit, it comes from dedication and persistence in a regular exercise routine. He argued that through his exercises you can cultivate coordination of mind, body, and spirit. His routine was designed to develop the body uniformly, and correct any maladaptive rest and movement patterns we fall into during day to day life. There is an undeniable focus on posture, form, and precision – resulting in movement that cultivates mindfulness while strengthening and aligning your body.
Pilates stressed the relationship between physical health and overall quality of life. For life to be truly enjoyed we need a body which is fit and ready for any activity, leaving us in a better position for work and play. Pilates described physical fitness as “the first requisite of happiness.” Our bodies are our vessels to experience life, and we all deserve a strong, well-oiled ship for the journey.